Video and Film in English Language Learning

Video and Film in English Language Learning

Video Telling, by Jamie Keddie

Following on from Jamies talks and videos, a book version of his approach to using short videos in the classroom

Jamie Keddie Youtube Channel

  • Activities
  • Technology in the classroom


Film in Action, by Kieran Donaghy

Forget just putting on a video on a Friday or at the end of the school year! Make it meaningful!

"The book invites teachers to experiment with film, and provides: insights into how learners can engage with film; it includes over 100 activities for teachers to bring film into the language class; and it also includes steps for teachers and learners to create their own moving images."

By teacher, teacher trainer, international conference presenter and writer Kieren Donaghy, based in Barcelona Spain. Kieran is the founder of the Image Conference and Visual Arts Circle as well as the man behind - lesson plans for using short videos in the classroom

  • Activities
  • Technology in the classroom
  • Create your own moving images


Classroom Management: Getting the Buggers to Behave, by Sue Cowley

Classroom Management

“This book gives you advice on behaviour management that is easily accessible and equally easy to apply. This book provides plenty of information on the basic of behaviour management, lots of tips and ideas for managing the physical aspects of the classroom environment. The ideas and advice given are based on common sense observations and strategies that have worked for me.”

Sue Cowley is an experienced teacher and subject co-ordinator, who specialises in English and Drama. After qualifying as a primary school teacher, she taught in a number of different secondary schools in London and Bristol. She has also worked overseas at an international school in Portugal. Below you can find further books by the same author.

I have this book on my shelf, and it really is a common sense approach and especially useful with older young learners (Emma).

Teaching Young Learners to Think

Teaching Young Learners to Think

Encouraging Fat Questions Over Thin

Coetzer (IHJournal June 2017) calls them "chubby questions". Questions that get people, and importantly our learners, drilling down deep for answers. If you're aware of HOTS and LOTS, you'll know they refer to "Higher Order Thinking Skills" and "Lower Order Thinking Skills". We want learners to move beyond LOTS, that include activities like memorising, applying and answering short Yes/No answers into the challenges of HOTS: investigation, interpretation, analysis, manipulation, critique and creation.

Fat questions start like:

  • How do I know when....
  • What would happen if....

Thin Questions start like:

  • Is this green or blue?
  • True of false

Another way of looking at it is like comparing binary to analog. We want analog.

Coetzer suggests that as teachers, we need to develop a learning environment; building and supporting our learners to come to expect the fat questions, and are expected to formulate fat questions too. We build this up through modelling  - using "Think Aloud" or "Work Out Loud", where, as the terms suggest, we show our learners how we think through a question or issue out loud.

What Age should We start Teaching YLs to Develop Their Fat Thinking?

We start immediately. Children as young as two years old are capable of complex ideas. The key for the VYLs or very young learners is that the questions are presented in a state of play. In fact, even for adults, complex problem solving is better served when the participants are in a state of play, not under pressure or aware of being assessed. But that's a whole other exciting story.

The Book: Teaching Young Learners to Think

This book offers 80 activities with photocopiable worksheets and easy-to-follow teacher's notes. Herbert Puchta is an author of many innovative teaching materials, and Marion Williams, known for her book "Psychology for Language Teachers", have developed specifically designed tasks that develop children's foreign language competence while promoting the basic thinking skills they will need as they grow older.

Further Reading

Chubbier is Better! - by Elna Coetzer

Tony Gee, Workshops and Project-Based Learning

Tony Gee of Creation Myth Puppets

While contemplating project-based and experiential learning, Emma finds out some key truths for learning in the world of workshop artist Tony Gee, the Artistic Director and co-founder of Creation Myth Puppets. Tony has worked in the arts and as a puppeteer, for over 30 years, touring shows and workshops all over the world.


Workshop: A Moveable Feast by Tony Gee (ISBN: 9780902386204)
Dartington College of Arts

Sound by: &

Teaching English in Brazil: An interview with Teacher Developer Henrick Oprea


This month of September, Emma talks with Henrick Oprea about teaching English in Brazil and the issues teachers face, teacher development, the BrazTESOL conference in 2018, Native-Speakerism, locally informed methodologies and the art of reflection in learning and life.

For more information about Henrick, his areas of interest and writing, see his blog: Henrick Oprea Blog

For information about the conference to be held in Brazil in 2018: BrazTESOL

For CELTA courses in Brazil see the StudyCELTA page: CELTA Course in São Paolo

Sound in this podcast:

  • Beats by reinsamba
  • a 1939 recording of Francisco Alves performing "Aquarela do Brasil",
  • "Tico-Tico no Fubá" performed by the great Paco de Lucia -a little "aflamencado" for the purists, but a great version never-the-less 😉


The Image in English Language Teaching

The Image in English Language Teaching

Detail of painting From the rooftop we Can See the City by Emma Louise Pratt

I'm involved in a community of practice called the Visual Arts Circle, a group of educators, publishers, artists and designers interested in the visual arts in TEFL/ELT or any language teaching, for that matter.

We're excited to announce our first publication of the Visual Arts Circle in collaboration with the ELT Council. ‘The Image in English Language Teaching’ is a book edited by Kieran Donaghy and Daniel Xerri that features contributions by leading experts in the use of images in language education such as Ben Goldstein, Anna Whitcher, Antonia Clare, Paul Driver, Sylvia Karasthati, Paul Dummett, Magdalena Wasilewska, Andreia Zakime,Elena Domínguez Romero, Jelena Bobkina, Candy Fresacher, Tyson Seburn, Chrysa Papalazarou, Magdalena Brzezinska, Samantha Lewis, Jean Theuma, Valéria Benévolo França and myself.

The book includes a preface by Gunther Kress, Professor of Semiotics and Education in the Department of Culture, Communication and Media Within the Institute of Education of University College London.

And yippee!! You can access it for free thanks to the generous support of the ELT Council. You can download the book by clicking on the following link:

[button type="success" size="lg" link="" target="_blank"] The Image in English Language Teaching [/button]

Multimodal Literacies, the Visual Arts and (E)LT

Multimodal Literacies, the Visual Arts and (E)LT

podcast august 2017 multi modal literacy visual art and ELT

Is there a paradigm shift happening in the world of TEFL and language teaching? Emma Pratt talks to Anna Whitcher and Kieran Donaghy, the dynamic partnership behind the Visual Arts Circle, a community of practice formed for language teachers interested in multimodal literacy, visual literacy and the visual arts. The Visual Arts Circle's sixth annual Image Conference kicks off in October 2017 in Lisbon.

Get involved in VAC:
The Image Conference:

New African Horizons: Africa TESOL

New African Horizons: Africa TESOL

Okon Interview

"Africa is under-represented internationally and I had a vision to develop a platform for Africa to be heard, for us to speak with a louder voice...I asked myself, 'Where do I start?'"

Okon Effiong is the President of the Steering Committee of Africa TESOL, a regional body that aims to create a united front for English language practitioners in Africa, pursuing professionalism in language education and striving to create an enabling environment for research and practice to interact.

Quiet catalysts for change: The life of a regular EFL teacher

Quiet catalysts for change: The life of a regular EFL teacher

An interview with Magdalena Brzezinska, English language teacher in Poland

The world of English language teaching is diverse and full of potential to make it as interesting and challenging as you want to make it. This month we have a conversation with Magdalena Brzezinska. Magdalena has been an EFL teacher for over 20 years in her native Poland, and a teacher trainer for 10 years. She has taught practical English and sociolinguistics to English Philology students at the University of Warmia and Masuria, Poland and presently, she is teaching junior high school students. She talks to us about working with teens, project based learning, and who inspired her to become an English language teacher in the first place.

Music and sound:

KeffyStay: Guitar
miastodzwiekow: Corner Pub on Kosciuszki street in Poznan, Poland